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  1. #1
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    what would everyone recommend? i have some experience as a machinist but it is with machines that would handle 10,000 pound and above. would "benchtop" machines be enough? would they be enough to build a .50 caliber? thanks for your help

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    .........For the full usefullness of it, I'd get a lathe with no less then a 1-3/8" spindle hole and a bed not shorter then 36" between centers. I guess that means an 11" as a minumum. You may certainly get by with smaller and shorter though. Depends on how far ranging your gunsmithing is expected to go.

    A milling machine would also be nice, but light milling can be done on the lathe. If you can get a mill, then a small to medium sized machine should suffice nicely. Probably more important than any machine would be a very good set of quality files. With a bit of patience files can do some amazing things.

    " would they be enough to build a .50 caliber?"

    Heck you can build a 50 cal Hawken with kitchen tools . You mean a 50 cal cartridge type rifle I bet! By "build" you mean make the bolt, action and all the bits and pieces? Sure can.

    Rick

  3. #3
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    I would buy a lathe that you could turn, ream and thread without a lot of vibration a 2" OD shaft 36"OAL.Are you planning to chamber from a steady rest or run the barrel through the spindle hole?This too will make a difference.Also will the lathe make metric threads, some receiver threads are metric today.

  4. #4
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    Howdy..

    if you are on a budget, the 9x20, with the headstock bored out, will handle 99.9% of all gunsmithing, with the major expcetion of doing barrel tapers.. and THAT would require a much more expensive machine...

    I have a 13x36 ger head...


    as far as mills go, well, DO NOT buy a rung fu machine if you can possibley help it, unless you are going to change it to cnc. These machines have ZERO repeatablity, and have MM dials on INCH threads leadscrews.. (that part can be fixed for 40 bucks)... the round heads are WORTHLESS once you have a setup, lower/raise the head, you have to set them up again

    a fully manual bp can be hand for 1000-1500, and you can build DRo (shumatech) for about 300 more...


    do you need DRO? more than you need the mill

    jeffe

  5. #5
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    Try not to be in a rush to get a machine and you will be able to more approximate getting the best machine at the best price.

    Although Bridgeport has the reputation, a Lagun milling machine is fully its equal and probably will command a lesser price.

  6. #6
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    Personally I like old USA made iron. But there are many drawbacks. I've got a 9" and 13" Southbend lathe and recommend them highly, unless you want to metric thread. I also don't mind spending some time fixing up the older stuff, but parts may be hard to come by, or after you spend the time making them you fine them on ebay for pennies. I've got a Hardinge horizontal mill with ivory dials that is a joy to use, brought it home in the back of my 1/2 ton GMC "squatting like my neighboors dog", but the vertical head doesn't have a drill press style quill like a bridgeport or most any new import mill. Found a little Shape-Rite 8" shaper for what I thought was a reasonable price, you can't find those in the Enco catalog! Ebayed a floor model Southbend drill press for $150 with class 7 spindle bearings, because everyone wants to buy an old Delta. Bought an older Milltronics CNC for not too much, but it requires time and money to keep it going as well.

    I do spend some time at the local Harbor Freight and J&L, buying the stuff I don't have to use frequently. Can't beat the prices!

    There are many import machines that are made in the same place sold under different names that vary in price tremendously. Shop around if you want one of these. It seems like there is allways a cheaper one somewhere. I'll probably stick to the older USA stuff, but have made a large number of guns on someone else's import stuff. They both work it just depends on your preference.

    gunmaker

  7. #7
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    jeffeosso,

    On that 9X20 lathe how far out did you bore the headstock? Most of the 20" lathes have a 3/4 through hole. I haven't measure one, but I find it hard to think that you could get more than an 1/8" give or take.

    Joe

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    13/16 is what it's been reamed to

    http://www.accuratereloading.com/ubb...e=bodysub&Name =&daterange=1&newerval=0&newertype=&olderval=1&old ertype=m&bodyprev=#Post710922

    it

  9. #9
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    i don't think i'm up to making barrels yet, mostly going to stigk with making the recievers and bolts. being a "union man" i would prefer to stick with american made machines. i'll check around like all of you have said and see what i can come up with. thanks for the help.


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